Old man winter has officially made his way to East Tennessee. Nighttime temperatures have reached below freezing, the beautiful fall leaves are falling from the trees, and people are generally sticking to the warmer indoor temperatures. But don’t let that keep you from visiting Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Smoky Mountains this December! There are a ton of reasons to bring your friends and family down to the Smokies this holiday season. Below, we have listed just a few of the awesome activities available. So have a look, and see what amazing activities you might want to check out this December in the Smokies!
The 27th Annual Winterfest Kickoff: November 8th, 2016 – February 28th, 2017
Winterfest in Pigeon Forge is a four-month long celebration of winter in the Smokies. The Winterfest driving Tour of Lights boasts over 5 millions lights that you can view from the comfort of your car! Views of deer, bears, and other native creatures can be seen, while also seeing that amazing light displays, including the 200-foot-tall Smoky Mountain Wheel. Children will love seeing light displays of their favorite nursery rhyme characters like Humpty Dumpty and Mother Goose. So come check out the Pigeon Forge Winterfest and Tour of Lights!
The 41st Fantasy of Light Christmas Parade: December 2nd, 2016
This one may need no explanation, but it’s an amazing enough event that it deserves mention anyways! On December 2nd only, you and your loved ones can come on out to the Gatlinburg Parkway and enjoy the amazing one-mile parade of floats, music, and more! Led by Coach Holly Warlick and the Lady Vols basketball team, this one-day-only event is free of charge, and is an amazing spectacle for the whole family!
UPDATE: Due to recent fires in the Gatlinburg area, the parade scheduled for Friday, December 2, 2016, has been canceled. Please check back for the 42nd annual parade in 2017.
Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival: December 7th – 10th, 2016
Bluegrass is almost synonymous with the history of East Tennessee (good ole Rocky Top, anyone?). This one-of-a-kind event will feature classic artists as well as some newcomers on the bluegrass scene. Whether you’re a lifelong bluegrass fan or just a casual music listener, the Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival 2016 will provide loads of entertainment for everyone. Bring your friends and family and enjoy the best music event of the year! The festival will be held in the Ramada Inn Convention Center in Pigeon Forge.
More Holiday-Themed Events in the Smokies
No matter what your interests are, there is something great going on in the Smokies that will be perfect for you and your loved ones. If the above events aren’t to your liking, check out these other great events in the Smokies, and don’t forget the holiday shows!
Due to the late November forest fires and the resulting damage, some events and activities may be modified or canceled. Be sure to call and/or check with your desired destination or activity’s website for more information. Given that, we hope you still come on down to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Great Smoky Mountains this December to take advantage of the many — and often times free — seasonal events. With your help, love, and support, this great area will rebuild.